‘Digital tourist guides business is key’ says Michelin

Tires and tire-related operations represent around 99% of the Michelin Group’s business. Consequently, only approximately 1% is generated by maps and guides, digital content provided by ViaMichelin, and licensed products managed by the Group’s worldwide Michelin Lifestyle subsidiary.

While 1% may seem like an insignificant amount, these activities are nonetheless fundamental for the Group as a whole since they represent nearly half a billion contacts with the MICHELIN brand. Every year, hundreds of millions of clicks are recorded on the different ViaMichelin websites and tens of millions of brand items – 30 million in 2009 – are sold, including maps, guides and products developed by Michelin Lifestyle.

These activities represent key strengths for the Group. They are also essential since they enable Michelin to be closer to its customers, understand them better, provide them with a useful, high-quality service and create more frequent contacts with the brand in ways that have nothing to do with tire purchases.

For while car owners don’t change their tires once a month or even once a year, motorists or travelers may need a Green Guide more often when preparing a weekend or longer trip, or a ViaMichelin itinerary or map when walking, biking or driving to a personal or business appointment. They may need the advice of the MICHELIN guide when looking for the right restaurant or hotel, or a printed map when traveling by car.

Digital content – whether for the Web or for iPhone and Nokia mobile phones – and sports equipment developed by Michelin teams serve as channels that build awareness and create affinity with consumers who are younger than those long familiar with and loyal to the brand.

While continuing to strengthen its relations with customers in 2010, Michelin is also committed to moving to the next level, this time by making its travel service offering one of the most innovative and comprehensive in the world.

The Group intends to achieve this goal by more closely aligning its printed publications – maps, tourist guides and MICHELIN guides – with the ViaMichelin digital services offering, thereby providing today’s traveler with access to the full range of Michelin’s highly reliable tourist information. In other words, ViaMichelin and the MICHELIN Green Guide will together open the doors to a large tourist information and services source, a database that has been in the making for more than 100 years.

This offer will bring together all content from the MICHELIN Green Guide collection, which has been fully renewed for the occasion, by integrating it with ViaMichelin’s digital technology. It will also include restaurants from the MICHELIN guide selection, detailed maps, satellite photos and the route calculator function already well known to Web users.

In addition to this wealth of information, the new offering will provide travelers with something totally new and unique – the possibility of creating their own personalized travel books, enabling them to visualize the trip they’ve dreamed of and see it unfold before their eyes.

By year-end 2010, the offer will comprise 90 countries, thousands of destinations, 36,000 tourist sites, 57,000 restaurants and 100,000 hotels, with all information available in five languages. Other content and new features will be added in the months and years ahead.

Source: Michelin.

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